Britain 'ahead of curve' despite growth setback: Osborne

7th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain is "ahead of the curve" in its plans for economic recovery despite having to revise down its growth figures, the country's finance minister George Osborne said Tuesday.

Osborne called his government's austerity drive "the rock of stability" on which the recovery depended and vowed to stick to the controversial plan, in a speech at the Lloyds of London annual dinner.

"We set in train a plan that was comprehensive and clear in its vision, but also flexible enough to withstand shocks along the way," he said.

"The plan we have set out is designed in tough times for tough times. It is the rock of stability upon which any sustainable recovery depends and we will hold to it."

However, the chancellor of the exchequer admitted that he would have to report lower-than-expected growth figures when he addresses parliament on November 29.

Conservative minister Osborne explained that he had "warned repeatedly that the recovery would be choppy".

Britain's Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition took office in May 2010 and has since announced radical budget cuts in an attempt to slash the country's record deficit by 2015.

Osborne argued that the government's swift action combined with Britain's independence from the eurozone had preserved the country's credit rating, keeping borrowing costs down and shielding it from the whim of speculators.

"We had an emergency budget last summer on our own terms -- not this summer on the market's terms -- unlike so many other countries," he continued.

"We have been ahead of the curve. We have been a safe haven in the sovereign debt storm. We have delivered record low interest rates for families, businesses and taxpayers."

The British, he said, remained "masters of our own destiny," due to a flexible monetary policy, but warned the country was not immune from the eurozone crisis and needed to do all it could "to make sure it works".

© 2011 AFP

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